Dog games are a great way to no only have some fun and strengthen your bond with your Labrador, but they’re also excellent opportunities to get some training in. Games provide your canine companion with structure, which is what they thrive off of. So without further ado, here are some fun dog games to try out with you Labrador.
Dogs are born with phenomenal noses. You may think of hounds when you picture a dog following a scent trail, but your Lab is just as capable.
Setting Up a Scent Trail:
Begin by marking a clear starting point with a cone, rock, or marker of some kind. Also, be sure Fido is out of sight while you’re setting this up.
Take a piece of cloth rubbed in some type of flavorful meat and drag it along for about 3 feet.
Place a small piece of meat or a tiny treat at the end of that 3 feet.
Now you can grab your pup and bring them to the starting marker.
Allow your Lab to sniff around and follow the meat/treat scent you laid out.
Repeat these steps a few times (your pup will quickly catch on)
Now that Fido understands the premise, you’re ready to make the game even more fun.
You can make the trail longer, gradually introduce turns or changes in direction, and after a few weeks, you’ll be able to layout pretty complicated tracks for your Lab to sniff out.
For this game, you’re going to teach your canine how to sit perfectly still even while you walk in circles around them.
You’ll need to decide on a marker, which is a sound you’ll make every time your furry friend is successful – it can be “good,” “yes,” or you can use a clicker. You’ll want to reward your pooch with treats in addition to sounding these markers.
To start, sit your pup down next to you, stand still, and observe them.
As soon as your Lab is entirely still, mark and reward them
Slowly but surely work your way up to 3 seconds of not moving.
Once your pup has learned to sit like a statue for 3 seconds, they’re ready to learn how to stay still even when you move your leg.
Start by lifting one for off the ground and putting it back down – if Fido stays still, mark and reward them.
Once you’ve mastered that, you can start to move on to bigger movements of your leg – slowly but surely progressing and rewarding for statue-like behavior.
After a while, you’ll be able to work your way up to fully walking around them while they stay frozen like a statue.
Hide & Go Seek
Doggy hide & seek is very similar to the original, except instead of you hiding – you hide one of their toys.
Teaching Your Lab Hide & Go Seek:
Choose one of their favorite toys and use the name of it a low while your pup is holding or playing with it.
Next, you’ll want to either sit your dog or have someone hold them back while you take the toy through an open doorway and place it in full view in another room.
Go back to your Lab and tell them to find “insert your dog’s toy name here” in an energetic and happy tone.
Be sure also to praise Fido once they find the toy.
Repeat these steps a few times until your pup seems to have the hang of it
Now you can start to add a bit of difficulty to the game by placing the toy in areas that aren’t easily seen – be sure to gradually increase the difficulty level though
With all of these games, you’ll want to be sure you’re continuing the habit of slowly increasing the difficulty level, as well as practicing patience with your Lab. You might not be able to fully teach them a game in one sitting if they get bored, and that’s okay. Taking breaks and repeating the process later on in the day or a few times throughout the week will help them understand the game even more. And remember, at the end of the day this is about having fun with your furry friend!